2011 Canada's History Forum

Speaking of the Past: History Beyond the Classroom

December 11, 2011

Although it seems a rather obvious thing to do, you may be surprised to learn that there are few occasions when classroom teachers, historians, museum professionals, and writers and media producers come together to share thoughts and ideas about the world of history.

That’s why Canada’s History established this National History Forum in 2007 as an opportunity to bring together the diverse range of people who think about history, to broaden their perspective of what history is, to encourage them to learn from each other, and hopefully to help them establish new working relationships and opportunities to collaborate.

This year we are taking history outside of the classroom, to explore the many other ways Canadians encounter the past, and shape their perceptions of History. Museums and public institutions are looking for ways to create more diversity in their public spaces and collections - often looking to personal records, oral history and other sources to provide context to the stories they tell.

They’re learning it’s more complicated than just overlaying them as a sidebar to an exhibit. Similarly teachers in the classroom rarely teach with a single textbook anymore. Students are regularly asked to research and interpret primary sources, be it letters and photographs from home, or documents found in museums, archives, or on the Internet.

For the rest of us, it will be a fascinating day that will lead you to think more deeply about what resources you have in your own home that could well be important sources of understanding the past for tomorrow’s generation.

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